Colorectal Cancer

When you come to Winship Cancer Institute for colorectal cancer treatment, you have a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to your well-being.

As a patient with colorectal cancer, your best long-term outcome will be achieved with a comprehensive, coordinated approach that incorporates all available therapies.

Your Winship care team draws on Emory’s vast resources in surgical oncology, radiation therapy and medical oncology, to provide the newest, most effective practices and treatments for colorectal cancer.

Our multidisciplinary care teams include oncology surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists and advanced practice nurses with expertise in colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers. As specialists, our teams develop groundbreaking surgeries and treatments that produce better outcomes and are adopted by other leading cancer centers.

The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:

  • Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top colorectal cancer experts in the world.
  • Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts.
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
  • Access to a nurse navigator to assist you through out the treatment process.
  • Access to support groups and education classes for you and your caregivers.
  • Availability of new treatment options within our clinical trials program.

Colorectal cancer includes cancers of both the colon and the rectum and is the third most common cancer in the U.S. for men and women.

Most colorectal cancers start as a growth, called a polyp, in the inner lining of the colon or rectum and slowly progresses through the other layers. Removing a noncancerous polyp early can keep it from becoming a cancerous tumor, which is why screening is such an important tool for preventing this disease.

The stage of your disease indicates how much it has spread through the layers of the wall of your colon or rectum, and whether it has spread to other organs and lymph nodes. Early stage cancer is disease limited to the colorectal wall and the adjacent lymph nodes. Late stage cancer indicates the disease has spread to other organs like the liver, lung or lining of the abdomen. Determining the stage of your cancer will affect your treatment plan.

Your Winship care team may use one or more tests and procedures to determine the stage of your cancer including a blood test, biopsy, colonoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound (for rectal cancer only) and imaging tests. Endoscopic ultrasound is a procedure to determine the stage of rectal cancer in patients. This method uses a high frequency ultrasound transducer to provide detailed images of a rectal mass and its relationship with the four-layered structure of the rectal wall.

For reliable, in-depth information about cancer symptoms, staging and diagnosis, visit CancerQuest, an educational and outreach program at Emory University. 

Visit CancerQuest

Your individualized treatment plan will take into account the stage of your disease, your overall health, the unique genetic characteristics of your tumor, the side effects of the treatment, and relieving colorectal cancer symptoms.

Your care team will discuss treatment options with you and it is important to take time and consider all possible choices. It is also important to know that your chances for having the best possible outcome are highest in the hands of a multi-specialty medical team that is experienced in treating colorectal cancer.
One or more of the following types of treatment will be used.

Surgery: Surgery is the main treatment method for early stage colorectal cancer when the disease is confined to the colon, rectum and adjacent lymph nodes. The most common operation is a partial colectomy, in which a piece of the colon or rectum with the tumor is removed and the ends are sewn back together. A section of normal tissue on either side of the tumor and local lymph nodes are also removed, and if there isn’t enough tissue left to sew the ends together, one end is attached to the abdominal wall so that stool can empty into a bag attached outside the body. This type of surgery, called a colostomy, is much more rare than partial colectomy. Some patients with advanced stage disease (where the cancer has spread to other organs) may benefit from surgical treatment. These surgeries could include resection of parts of the liver, lung or lining of the abdomen. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery or radiation.

A chemotherapy procedure called heated intraperitoneal chemoperfusion, or HIPEC, may be used to treat advanced abdominal cancers involving the lining of the abdominal cavity. HIPEC is designed to kill any remaining cancer cells once all visible disease is removed surgically.

Selecting patients for these specialized surgeries requires collaboration among a team of highly specialized colorectal experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and radiologists.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Your doctor will design a treatment plan that may use one or more chemotherapy drugs with targeted agents to treat your colorectal cancer. In personalized medicine, doctors identify unique characteristics of tumors that make them vulnerable to known drugs so therapy can be tailored to an individual’s cancer. Depending on the stage of your disease, your treating physician may perform additional genetic testing of your tumor to help identify the best personalized treatment for your cancer. In addition to standard chemotherapy, participating in clinical trials may be an option in certain cases. Clinical trials provide patients access to new medications that are being developed to treat colorectal cancer. Winship physicians and researchers are focused on expanding the application of personalized medicine in the management of colorectal cancer.

Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is typically used in combination with chemotherapy drugs that make the radiation more effective. Rectal cancer may be treated using external beam radiation before surgery to shrink the tumor. Learn more about radiation therapy treatments and services.

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselorsnurse navigatorsdietitians and social service professionals.

 Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Through these trials, you may have access to treatments that are not widely available.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, we are ready to help you. Call us at 1 (888) 946-7447 or (404) 778-1900 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. Winship experts are available to provide a second opinion.

We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.

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Wendy Baer MD

  • Oncology Psychiatrist
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                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Dr. Baer helps patients and their families deal with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Medical Director of Psychiatric Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD
Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Barrett MS, RD, CSO, LD

Chandar Bhimani MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Chandar  Bhimani MD
Chandar Bhimani MD

Chandar Bhimani MD

  • Dr. Bhimani is a hematology and medical oncology specialist treating patients at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • Nutrition Advisor
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                                 Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD
Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Stephanie Boyea MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN
Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP
Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • A chemotherapy infusion specialist and adult nurse practitioner, Ms. Brutcher's clinical specialties include gastrointestinal and aerodigestive cancers.
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner, Department of Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS
Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Dr. Cardona is a board certified surgeon and surgical oncologist who specializes in the management of complex gastrointestinal malignancies (such as stomach, pancreas, and liver cancers) and is an expert in the treatment of sarcomas.
  • Co-Chair Gastrointestinal Oncology Working Group, Emory University Hospital Midtown
  • (404) 686-3203

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
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                                 Kimberly A. Curseen MD
Kimberly A. Curseen MD

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Dr. Curseen is the primary provider for the Supportive Oncology Clinic at Winship.
  • Director of Supportive and Palliative Care Outpatient Services , Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-6448

Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC

  • Genetic Counselor
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                                 Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC
Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC

Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Bassel El-Rayes MD
Bassel El-Rayes MD

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Dr. El-Rayes is head of the clinical trials program at the Winship. He also serves as Director of the Winship Gastrointestinal Oncology Program.
  • Associate Director for Clinical Research, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Martha Giardina BSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Martha  Giardina BSW
Martha Giardina BSW

Martha Giardina BSW

Joan Giblin NP

  • Survivorship Program
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                                 Joan  Giblin NP
Joan Giblin NP

Joan Giblin NP

  • An experienced nurse practitioner specialist with extensive patient care involvement, Ms. Giblin facilitates continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors.
  • Survivorship Program Director, Winship Cancer Institute
  • (404) 778-1900

Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD
Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

  • As a member of both the Gastrointestinal Oncology working group and the Sarcoma working group, Dr. Hawk sees patients with either gastrointestinal or connective tissue malignancies.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Valerie Henderson MSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Valerie Henderson MSW
Valerie Henderson MSW

Valerie Henderson MSW

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Bonnie  Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN
Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Ms. Josaphs practices within gastrointestinal oncology including assisting colorectal, liver and pancreatic cancer patients.
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Navigator, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Steven Keilin MD

  • Gastroenterologist
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                                 Steven  Keilin MD
Steven Keilin MD

Steven Keilin MD

  • An attending gastroenterologist with expertise in advanced endoscopy, Dr. Keilin works with Winship's GI teams to deliver top cancer care.
  • Associate Director, Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship Program, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

David Kooby MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 David Kooby MD
David Kooby MD

David Kooby MD

  • Dr. Kooby is involved in multicenter clinical research and is an international leader in minimally invasive pancreatic and liver surgery.
  • Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3805

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA
Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Dr. Landry specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal tumors and soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Chief of Service, Edward Loughlin Oncology Center, Grady Memorial Hospital
  • (404) 778-3473

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Colleen Lewis NP
Colleen Lewis NP

Colleen Lewis NP

Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Shishir K. Maithel  MD, FACS
Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

  • Dr. Maithel is a board certified surgeon and surgical oncologist with special interest in sarcoma and malignancies of the liver, bile ducts, pancreas, stomach, colon, and small intestine.
  • Associate Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0210

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
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                                 Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • At Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Ms. Perlmutter works with patients of all cancer types providing resource referrals and counseling services.
  • Social Worker, Outpatient Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7826

Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

  • Physician Assistant
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                                 Kimberly Pizarek PA-C
Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

  • Ms. Pizarek works with Dr. Maria Russell of the surgical oncology team to provide care for breast cancer, gastrointestinal, melanoma and sarcoma patients.
  • Physician Assistant , Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Carol Rivera ACBSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Carol Rivera ACBSW
Carol Rivera ACBSW

Carol Rivera ACBSW

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Maria C. Russell MD
Maria C. Russell MD

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Dr. Russell's treats melanoma and metastatic melanoma, tumors of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, spleen and gallbladder, metastatic tumors to the liver, tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, and neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-3203

Virginia O. Shaffer MD

  • Colorectal Surgeon
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                                 Virginia O. Shaffer MD
Virginia O. Shaffer MD

Virginia O. Shaffer MD

  • Dr. Shaffer is a surgeon based at Emory University Hospital treating patients with colorectal cancer, anal cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases, and specializing in laparoscopy surgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of General and GI Surgery, Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3648

Walid L. Shaib MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Walid L. Shaib MD
Walid L. Shaib MD

Walid L. Shaib MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 Vinita Singh MD
Vinita Singh MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Dr. Singh collaborates with oncologists to provide state-of-the-art therapies to cancer patients suffering from pain symptoms.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2410

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Charles A. Staley MD
Charles A. Staley MD

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Dr. Staley leads the surgical oncology team and as Chief Quality Officer works collaboratively with leadership on tracking and improving patient services and satisfaction as well as focusing on cancer outcomes at Winship.
  • Chief Quality Officer, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0210

Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC

  • Genetic Counselor
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                                 Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC
Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC

Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC

  • Ms. Stanislaw provides genetic counseling, including risk assessment and test coordination, for individuals concerned about the possibility of hereditary cancer susceptibility.
  • Director of Genetic Counseling, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Patrick Sullivan MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Patrick Sullivan MD
Patrick Sullivan MD

Patrick Sullivan MD

  • Dr. Sullivan specializes in diseases of the colon and rectum with expertise in the surgical management of primary and recurrent malignancy of the colon and rectum, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease, and anorectal disorders.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2163

Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

  • Social Worker
Photo of 
                                 Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW
Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

Margaret (Maggie) Tinsley LMSW

  • Ms. Tinsley works with the genitourinary and gastrointestinal patients at Winship Cancer Institute and the breast, gynecological and sarcoma patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown.
  • Social Worker, Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-5976

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD
Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Dr. Vainshtein treats patients with head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal malignancies, thoracic malignancies and sarcomas at both Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital and Emory University Hospital.
  • Instructor, Clinical Track, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Roger S. Williams DO

  • Interventional Radiologist
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                                 Roger S. Williams DO
Roger S. Williams DO

Roger S. Williams DO

  • Dr. Williams is a board certified radiologist with a certificate of Added Qualification in Interventional Radiology. He is part of a multi-disciplinary team of medical, surgical and radiation oncologists who develop specialized treatment plans for each patient.
  • Interim Director, Interventional Radiology and Image-Guided Medicine, Emory University Hospital Midtown
  • (404) 778-1900

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Joshua H. Winer MD
Joshua H. Winer MD

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Dr. Winer's specialties include HIPEC, laparoscopic and robotic pancreas, liver, and gastric resections, and minimally invasive colon surgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-8377

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN
Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

  • Located at Winship Cancer Institute, Ms. Woodstock is a nurse practitioner serving the inpatient population with gastrointestinal cancers and outpatient population in medical oncology.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner, Department of Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Vincent Yang MD, PhD

  • Medical Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Vincent Yang MD, PhD
Vincent Yang MD, PhD

Vincent Yang MD, PhD